RIP: Operator of missing Titanic sub says all 5 passengers are ‘dead’

RIP: Operator of missing Titanic sub says all 5 passengers are ‘dead’

The operator of a submersible missing near the Titanic ruins claimed on Thursday that he believed all five people on board had died as a result of the vessel’s “catastrophic” implosion in the ocean depths, as recounted by the Coast Guard.

The sad declaration from Oceangate came hours after rescuers reported a “debris field” had been located during a days-long search, raising fears that the vessel’s oxygen may have ran out even if it was still intact.

“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” Oceangate said in a statement.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” it said.

“We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

The US Coast Guard said the debris was consistent with a “catastrophic implosion” of the vessel.

The small tourist sub had been lost since Sunday, somewhere in a vast swathe of the North Atlantic between the ocean’s surface and more than two miles (nearly four kilometers) below.

It was carrying British billionaire Harding and dual Pakistani-British citizens Dawood, a tycoon, and his son Suleman. OceanGate Expeditions charges $250 000 for a seat on the sub.

Also on board was OceanGate’s CEO Rush and French submarine operator Nargeolet, nicknamed “Mr Titanic” for his frequent dives at the site.

Marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns, who specializes in deep water search and recovery operations, earlier said the discovery of debris indicated a breakup of the submersible.

“The only saving grace about that is that it would have been immediate, literally in milliseconds, and the men would have had no idea what was happening,” Mearns, who was friends with two of those onboard, told Sky News.

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